My First-Hand Account Of The 2009 MMVAs

As all the lucky fans gathered to pick up their iHeartRadio MMVAs wristbands today after registering for them on the Much site, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the past years where we had to sleep outside to get ours. Thousands of teenagers would line up just for a possible chance that they could have a wristband on their arm. This year, freshly showered teens walked away with theirs. You can call yourself lucky, because this is what it was like seven years ago.

The year was 2009—The Jonas Brothers were still together, Lady Gaga was an emerging artist and Taylor Lautner was the heartthrob that every teenage girl was talking about. And then there were my friends and I, who at that time were getting ready to see them all live at the 2009 MMVAs.


We lined up for wristbands the night before. Back in 2009, if you wanted a chance to get one, you HAD to line up from the night before. My friends and I met up after school and got all our gear together: a tent, sleeping bags, warm clothes for the chilly Toronto night, fully charged cameras and a DVD player. It was going to be a long wait, so there was no way you could go without some form of entertainment. Smartphones weren’t as affordable back then.

Remember camera?

Remember these point-and-shoot cameras?

When we got there around 6 p.m., we knew the line would be long, but we never imagined it would be THIS long. The red dot was where we were queue. The red line was the route we had to go to get to the wristband pick up location, marked here with a green dot at the side of the Much building.

We were a little discouraged about our place in line and scared we wouldn’t get wristbands. The Much workers gave out slips of paper with numbers on them and we were around the 1,000 mark. They assured us that we will get wristbands of some kind, as there was three different colours to choose from—blue for the lucky ones in the front who get the closest access to the main stage; pink for the crowd of the main stage where Black Eyes Peas, Jonas Brothers and Lady Gaga were performing; and orange for the John Street stage to see Classified, Rise Against and Alexisonfire perform. We knew the blue ones weren’t going to happen because of our place in line, but we were hoping to get the pink band to see our favourite pop acts.


Knowing it was going to be a long night, the four of us got comfortable in our three-person tent. We spent the night playing cards, watching movies on the tiny, portable DVD player and eating pizza. The bathroom situation was the hardest part, but luckily The Hilton was close by and had a bathroom bigger than my whole house.

Of course, there were middle-aged spectators wondering why thousands of teenagers where lining up with tents and sleeping bags. One of the weirdest moments I remember is waking up in the middle of the night to see two young guys peering into our tent. When they noticed I was awake, they ran away laughing into the night.

Finally, the morning came and the anticipation continued to build. We couldn’t stand still because the thought of finally having those wristbands on our arms was too much to bear. Starting in the wee hours of the morning, we made our way through the long line until we got to the pick up location on John Street about three hours after they started giving them out.

When we could finally see the door, we started freaking out. We were jumping up and down, singing with the people around us, and heard everyone scream when former VJ Tim Deegan waved at the crowd before jumping on his motorcycle and driving away like a Canadian James Dean.

We got to the front of the line and were ready to pick up our pink wristbands, but were met with bad news as they were all gone by the time we got there—we were livid. At the time, we didn’t know who these artists were on the other stage and hello, what about The Jonas Brothers? We put on our orange bands and decided they were better than having none at all.


On the day of the event, we got there early to see the sound checks. Even though we wouldn’t be able to see the final performances on the main stage for Lady Gaga and Black Eyed Peas, we at least got a little taste of what it was going to be like. We went all out for the red carpet, made posters for our favourite stars in hopes they would come over to take a selfie. There were no front cameras at the time, so you can imagine the blurry, awkward pictures that would ensue (refer to mirror picture above, in case you suppressed all your early 2000s memories). The show itself was one to remember, we were standing right were the celebrities were exiting the stage. I swear Nick Jonas made eye contact with me for a split second.

Or he could've just been walking,..

Or he could’ve just been looking straight ahead…

I promised myself after this experience that I would work for Much one day—and now I do! Dreams do come true, so if you want to be on the other side of the MMVAs one day, don’t think you can’t.

Looking back on it today, the experience was even better than the event itself. Sleeping on the streets of Toronto, meeting new people and sharing a cramped tent with my three friends is what we remembered the most. Yeah, we were mere feet away from Lady Gaga, Chris Bosh waved at me and I almost hit Nicole from Girlicious in the face with my shoe, but it was the day of the wristband that we always reminisce about. Most importantly, I can still call the people I experienced these nights with my friends. It is moments like these that strengthen our bonds and create memories that we look back on and say, “Yeah, we did that.”

I hope in seven years when you look back on your iHeartRadio MMVAs experience, you and your friends can say the same thing.